In response to China’s new policies to facilitate international visits, Chinese fintech firm Ant Group is raising single-transaction limit for international travellers using its cross-border payment services from $1000 to $5000; and annual cumulative transaction limit up from $10,000 to $50,000.

Ant said in a statement on Friday that the new policies apply to Ant’s twin cross-border mobile payment solutions.

International travelers may download the Alipay app and bind their international cards, or use their home wallets to pay like a local thanks to Alipay+, the cross-border payment solution offered by Ant International.

As of February 2024, users of ten such wallets can enjoy seamless payment experience on the 80-million strong merchants network in China, including AlipayHK (Hong Kong SAR, China), MPay (Macao SAR, China), Hipay (Mongolia), Changi Pay and OCBC Digital (Singapore), Touch ’n Go eWallet (Malaysia), Kakao Pay, Naver Pay and Toss Pay (South Korea), and TrueMoney (Thailand).

On March 7, China’s State Council released a guideline to further optimize payment services and increase payment convenience for international travellers.

The People’s Bank of China (PBC) has also recently announced that it will guide payment platforms to raise the single transaction limit for foreign nationals using mobile payment services from $1,000 to $5,000 and the annual transaction limit from $10,000 to $50,000.

For expats and other international visitors, Alipay has launched multi-language translation function for international visitors.

Travel to China is expected to pick up in 2024 with new visa-free policies and efforts to increase the number of international flights.

During Chinese New Year 2024, data from Alipay showed a 500 percent increase in spending via international card-enabled Alipay accounts at merchants in the Chinese mainland compared to 2023.

In September 2023, Ant International introduced the “Alipay+-in-China” (A+ China) Program, which enabled ten Asian e-wallets to be used in the Chinese Mainland.

Users from Malaysia, Mongolia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, Hong Kong SAR and Macao SAR, can pay seamlessly with their home payment apps at tens of millions of merchants across the country, wherever Alipay works, to enjoy secure, smooth and cashless payment, and transparent and competitive exchange rates.

AlipayHK, Touch ’n Go eWallet and Kakao Pay were the first three e-wallets to be enabled, and in a six month period in the leadup to the Hangzhou Asian Games in September, transactions grew 47 times, reflecting the preference for tourists to travel and pay like a local.

Alipay+ said it will continue to widen the service coverage for overseas wallet users, including broader public transportation and ride-hailing services.

Leading Asian e-wallets are responding positively to this new development, and believe it will make travel within the Chinese mainland even more convenient for their users.

Alan Ni, Chief Executive Officer of TNG Digital Sdn. Bhd., the operator of Touch ‘n Go eWallet, said capturing more than 50 percent of the market share in Malaysia, TNG Digital is proud to be one of the first overseas eWallets accepted in the Chinese mainland.

According to him, the recent policy change by the People’s Bank of China, raising transaction limits for foreign nationals utilizing mobile payment services, marks a monumental leap forward in global payment convenience.

He said this development underscores the firm’s unwavering commitment to becoming the ultimate travel companion eWallet for our esteemed users.

“Not only does it streamline our users’ travel experiences, but it also empowers them to explore an array of local merchants, providing unparalleled flexibility in their
shopping and travel endeavors,

“We are excited about the opportunities this expansion brings to both our users, and also the merchants in the Chinese mainland,” he added.

John Sun, Chief Executive Officer of Macao’s MPay, said that this policy will undoubtedly be beneficial in promoting the economic development and integration process of the Greater Bay Area.

He said it will further upgrade the payment experience and satisfaction of international tourists visiting Macao and the Bay Area.

“As the preferred payment platform for Macao residents, MPay will also strengthen its promotional operations before, during, and after travel, expand more consumption scenarios in retail, dining, culture, leisure entertainment, and tourism, and support the promotion of Macao’s ‘1+4’ moderate and diverse industrial development strategy,

“MPay continues to commit to helping merchants better serve international tourists visiting Macao through innovative one-stop acquiring technology services, addressing the pain points of cross-border payments for international tourists, and creating an interconnected international payment digital ecosystem for the Macao market,” he added.

Naranbat Battulga, Founder and Chairman of Hipay LLC, said by joining Alipay+ payment, the firm’s users are delighted by the convenient payment option with their home e-wallet.

“However, based on our data, over 85 percent of our users tend to pay over $1000 per transaction,

“Therefore, we are delighted to hear the news that per transaction and annual transaction limit has increased 5 times, which will bring tremendous convenience to end users,” he added.

Ant Group Digital Technologies Accelerates for Going Global